This week, we welcome in BeaverBlitz.com publisher Angie Machado to break down the match-up between California (3-2, 1-1 in Pac-12) and Oregon State (1-3, 0-1), set for Saturday at 6 p.m., on the Pac-12 Networks in Corvallis, Ore.
At 0:48, we talk about the rebuilding job that Gary Andersen has in front of him as he tries to turn around the Beavers. The offense has changed from a pro-style system under Mike Riley to more of a spread system under Anderson, plus a 3-4 defense. When Andersen arrived, only three players could squat 500 pounds or more. Now, that number is into the 30s. The buy-in is there, the tempo has been turned up, and now, all that remains is the winning. That major rebuild could take as many as four years, and Anderson is in just Year Two, and against Colorado, Oregon State managed just two field goals.
At 3:30, we discuss the up-and-down game Oregon State played against Minnesota. The Beavers took a 23-17 lead with 2:30 left in the third quarter, and out-gained the Golden Gophers 317 to 280, but weren't able to come away with a win. Why has it been so hard to recapture that mojo? Big plays in the fourth quarter. Cal ranks 22nd in the Football Bowl Subdivision in offensive explosiveness, with 43 plays of 20 yards or more this season.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1713944-scouting-the-oppon...At 5:00, we get to the quarterbacks, as Utah State transfer Darell Garretson (56-for-102, 508 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 11 sacks) is supposedly 100%, but he's looking over his shoulder at true freshman walk-on Conor Blount (19-for-34, 183 yards, 2 INT, 5 sacks, 0 TDs). How did Blount emerge, beating out junior Marcus McMaryion and freshman Mason Moran? Angie breaks down the Wisconsin connection, and the need to preserve Moran's redshirt.
At 6:15, we get into some of the offensive line struggles the Beavers have had to trudge through. Oregon State has allowed 16 sacks this season, and ranks 127th out of 128 FBS teams in percentage of offensive plays that result in a first down or a touchdown (23.57%), while Cal's defense ranks 108th in percentage of opponent plays resulting in a tackle for loss, turnover or a sack (10.27%). Garretson's timing and rhythm have been off, Angie says, and of course, a true freshman will be a true freshman, as Blount struggled on the road against Colorado, throwing two interceptions.
At 7:08, Angie talks about the circuitous journey of former quarterback Seth Collins, who's now one of the Beavers' most productive wide receivers. Collins leads Oregon State in both receptions (21) and receiving yards (241), though he has yet to see the end zone this season. Angie goes so far as to say that Collins is the Beavers' best athlete, an "electric playmaker." Garretson was a "better fit" having played under offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven with the Aggies, prompting Collins to declare that he'd transfer to Northern Illinois, before reconsidering and returning as a receiver. He'll hurdle defenders, but he'll also run through them, as Angie says he's "got an attitude to him."
At 8:56, we flip over to defense. Oregon State is 11th in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, 11th in total defense, 11th in rushing defense, but sixth in passing defense, holding opponents to 227.8 yards per game through the air. In contrast, the Bears lead the conference in passing (428.6 yards per game) and are third in passer efficiency (155.9), with Davis Webb leading the Pac-12 in passing, and coming in fifth in passer efficiency. Webb ranks 41st in the nation in yards per completion (13.39), while receiver Chad Hansen is second in the nation in receiving yards (754), second in receiving yards per game (150.8), receptions (53) and receptions per game (11.0), while leading the Football Bowl Subdivision in receiving touchdowns (8). The Beavers' defense has only tallied four interceptions (tied for 52nd in the nation), and six sacks (1.4 sacks per game ranks 101st). How will the Beavers play Hansen, and apply pressure to Webb? It's been tough sledding, and even "pretty sorry" when it comes to Oregon State getting a pass rush off the edge.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1713805-bttv-davis-webb-ta...At 10:09, we discuss the secondary in detail. Senior Treston Decoud -- cousin of former Cal safety Thomas Decoud -- leads the defense, with two picks, but teams have shied away from throwing his direction. Last week, cornerback Jay Irvine went down with a shoulder injury, after cornerback Dwayne Williams went down. Gone is Oregon State's dime package, which has caused problems.
At 11:00, we turn our gaze on do-everything receiver Victor Bolden. The senior out of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., has 115 rushing yards on six carries, and 144 receiving yards on 15 catches, but he's also an ace in the return game, with nine punt returns for 36 yards and eight kickoff returns for 286 yards, including a 99-yard kickoff returned for a touchdown two weeks ago. In his career, he's piled up 2,064 kickoff return yards. The Beavers have utilized the fly sweep and bubble screen primarily to get the ball in Bolden's hands, meaning that the defensive ends and outside linebackers, as well as the nickel backs, will have to keep alert. "When he gets the ball in space," Angie says, "look out."
At 12:35, we discuss the decimated offensive line, which has seen two players go down with testicular cancer. "It's too many [injuries] to count," Angie says. From the 17 scholarship linemen Andersen had when he came in, the Beavers have lost Mason Johnson, Leo Fuimaono to medical retirement, Drew Clarkson to a relapse of the testicular cancer he thought he'd beaten in high school, Sean Harlow to an ankle injury last season (though he has come back early to play last week), redshirt freshman Robert Olson -- who roomed with Clarkson -- to a pair of hip surgeries and testicular cancer, and four-star Brayden Kearsley, who took the spring and summer off to attend to his girlfriend, who had been in a serious car accident. "It's the craziest offseason for an offensive line I have seen in almost 11 years," Angie says. Just to pile on, Fred Lauina went down in the Colorado game with a lower-leg injury, necessitating true freshman Gus Lavaka being brought up.
At 17:10, it's time to break down the defensive front. What kind of slants, stunts and potential four-down looks will we see on Saturday? All of it. Defensive end Baker Pritchard (13 tackles), tackles Elu Aydon (9 tackles) and Kalani Vakameilalo (4 tackles, 1.0 sack) will be in the mix, as well as outside linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu (21 tackles, 1.5 sacks). There will also be some new faces brought up from the scout team, including Joah Robinett and Hamilcar Rashed. Angie says that the Beavers will have to blitz 15-20% of the time in order to get any kind of pressure on the Bears.null